Rock Branch Teacher Darlene F. Hudnall Earns Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Charleston (March 6, 2003) – As a child, Darlene F. Hudnall looked forward to visiting her grandparents’ farm. “It was there I saw a one-room schoolhouse for the first time,” she recalls. “I can remember just standing inside the building and thinking what it must have been like to be a student in this type of school and what a special teacher it would have taken to teach in this manner.

“It was then I had my first thoughts of becoming a teacher,” she adds. “I wanted to be part of making an impact on the lives of children.”

Hudnall began making that impact 26 years ago. Today, she is one of only 10 West Virginia teachers to receive a 2003 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal president and chief executive officer, made the announcement, accompanied by West Virginia Governor Bob Wise; Secretary of Education and Arts Kay Goodwin; Deputy State Schools Superintendent Dr. Steven Paine; and WVEA President Tom Lange, at a presentation ceremony at the state capitol.

“This year’s ‘class’ of recipients is proof that West Virginia is blessed with many excellent teachers,” says Leer. “We truly believe excellent teachers are the cornerstone of our society and its economic vitality. These recipients have experience, expertise and a passion for learning, and they pass it on to their students every day.”

Hudnall teaches second-grade students at Rock Branch Elementary, in Nitro, where she strives to pass on her own love of education. “When my students enter my classroom, I want them to have smiles on their faces and enthusiasm in their voices, because they are excited about learning,” she says. “I want my students to know that our classroom is an exciting, safe place to learn.”

It’s also her goal that students become thinkers. As a result, Hudnall employs a variety of teaching tools. “I realize that students have individual needs and learning styles,” she says. “Through the use of various techniques, I strive to meet the needs of all of my students. For education isn’t head-to-head, but heart-to-heart.”

Hudnall earned her bachelor’s degree at West Virginia State College, and a master’s degree at the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies in Charleston. She continues her education – and honing her teaching skills – through participation in a variety of classes and conferences. Hudnall further serves her community as a volunteer for various community-betterment activities.

In addition to recognition, recipients receive a $2,500 unrestricted cash prize, a distinctive glass trophy and a framed certificate. The West Virginia Foundation for the Improvement of Education is making a $1,000 award to each recipient’s school for use with at-risk students. The Arch Coal teacher recognition program features public nomination and peer selection.

Arch Coal is supported by the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Education Association and Speedway in program promotion. Arch Coal’s Teacher Achievement Awards is one of the longest running, privately sponsored teacher recognition programs in the state.

Arch Coal is the nation’s second largest coal producer and a supplier of clean-burning, low-sulfur coal exclusively. Approximately 2,000 people are employed at Arch’s operations in West Virginia. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis.